My Yoga Journey

BY les | Mon 19 Oct, 2015

I wrote my first newsletter in January 2010.  Since then things have moved on so get ready for my blog...

A yogi friend once said 'you come to yoga when you are ready'.  I was a bit of a slow burn as I first saw yoga at the Crystal Palace Garden Party 1971 then shared a house with a yoga teacher and, an old school friend tried to get me interested in yoga in the early 90's when I was still in the head space of a hi-octane banker playing squash, running, skiing and heading off to the gym every day.  From 1971 the yoga seed took over 20 years to germinate!

My wife Claire and I tried several different teachers and yoga styles when we first started out but had not been 'bitten by the bug'.  That was until one Christmas when Claire bought me a David Swenson Ashtanga video and something just clicked into place - and no, it was not my dodgy knee joints!   I started by doing 30 minutes daily, progressing on to 45 minutes and then the full 90 minute Primary Series.  I found the practice to be a real challenge which appealed to me.  From day one I thought: 'this is amazing', followed by 'I have to teach this' and embarked on a Hatha Yoga teacher training course.

I was doing daily Ashtanga self practice and attending an ‘Iyengar’ class each week then came across Anton Simma, a local Ashtanga teacher.  Over a period of four years I completed the Hatha teacher training, attended class twice weekly and took self practice four days a week.  In that time my body changed, my mind started to change and my desire to share this great practice continued to grow.

In 2001 David Swenson came to the UK.  I wanted to get as much contact time with him as possible so over five days I attended nine classes then went to Cornwall where David was running an intensive Ashtanga teacher training course.  My body had never hurt so much before or since but it was gloriously transformational.  

Class of 2001 photo: I am the good looking one in the middle of the second row - turquoise top. 

I have attended many Ashtanga workshops, organised by Ian MacDonald in Oxford, where I had the opportunity to practice with renowned Ashtanga yogis: Lino Miele, Liz Lark, Mike Nevitt, Gingi Lee, Kristina Ireland, John Scott and Danny Paradise. The ultimate workshop was in 2003 with David Williams, who I consider to be the most knowledgeable of all the Ashtangi's having been the second westerner to learn the series from Pattabhi Jois.

See next month for my Spanish adventure.

Yours in Yoga,


TAGS: david swenson, david williams, pattabhi jois

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